Yahoo: Facebook's AOL patent deal with Microsoft shows it is weak

Yahoo: Facebook's AOL patent deal with Microsoft shows it is weak

Summary: Yahoo has released a statement about Facebook's purchase of 650 AOL patents from Microsoft. In short, Sunnyvale has made it clear that it is going to keep fighting Menlo Park till the very end.


After news broke today that Facebook is paying $550 million to Microsoft for AOL patents, I wrote a story titled "Why Facebook is buying 650 AOL patents from Microsoft." Here's the summary:

Facebook is acquiring the majority of the patents Microsoft just acquired from AOL. Facebook will thus soon own over 1,000 patents. This deal is really all about another company: Yahoo.

Yahoo contacted me a few minutes ago with a request to update my story with a statement from the company. I decided this is worthy of its own article, because this is quite the bold move from the online giant:

Nothing about today's action changes the fact that Facebook continues to infringe our patents. Companies who purchase patents are often working from a position of weakness and take these actions to strengthen their portfolio. We see today's announcement as a validation of our case against Facebook.

In other words, Yahoo is not scared in the slightest that Facebook is bulking up its patent portfolio. Here's my conclusion from my previous article:

Since day one, I thought Yahoo suing Facebook was a stupid move and Sunnyvale should reconsider. Then Facebook countersued Yahoo. Now, more than ever, I think Sunnyvale should settle.

Yahoo's statement makes it quite clear that this is not going to happen. In short, Sunnyvale is still confident it will win its patent fight with Menlo Park. Unfortunately, this is shaping up to be one of those long drawn-out patent battles. Frankly, I think that's just too bad. Yahoo can benefit a lot more from working with Facebook (as it already has been doing) than working against it.

See also:

Topics: Microsoft, Legal, Social Enterprise

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years,
he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars
Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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  • Sounds like Yahoo's confirming that they're actually the weak one

    The simple fact that Yahoo felt the need to call the blogger to make that statement is pretty typical of someone with a weak hand.

    If Yahoos was actually as confident as they are acting, they would likely just keep quiet and let the courts do the talking.

    Instead they run on over claiming "this shows they're weak!! this shows they're weak!"

    I think Yahoo just realized they where delt a great blow, with Facebook picking up these patents.
    William Farrel
    • Oh, look. Our resident flagger is at it again

      I wonder who that could be? ;)
      William Farrel
  • This shows weakness on both sides. But it doesnt in any way show that yhoo

    wont settle. lots of posturing is completely natural prior to settlement. It does however fuel the internet hate for yhoo over this.
    Johnny Vegas
    • Re: It does however fuel the internet hate for yhoo over this.

      Why, if Facebook is the one that's in the wrong why not hate Facebook? Running to Microsoft does make Facebook look like they're in the wrong.
      Jumpin Jack Flash
      • Simple

        Yahoo is on the way down anyway, which makes this look like worse than it probably is.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • Michael Alan Goff

        That's an insightful answer, and quite the refreshing change from the typical ZDNet BS. In reality if Facebook is violating these patents they should just settle and be done with it. But I believe running to Microsoft, like a bratty child doesn't help their case in any way.
        Jumpin Jack Flash
      • Agreed

        If Facebook is violating patents, they should pay. I don't personally like the state of patents, with sneezing being one step away being being able to be patented, but it is the law of the land. In the court of law, Facebook might lose. But in the court of public opinion, it won't be good for them.
        Michael Alan Goff